PILOT: Unlocking Body Memories for Creativity: Controlling Virtual Characters with Tangible Interfaces to Augment Expression and Cognition

Alexandra Mazalek mazalek@gatech.edu(Principal Investigator)
Michael Nitsche (Co-Principal Investigator)

GA Tech Research Corporation - GA Institute of Technology
Office of Sponsored Programs
Atlanta, GA 30332 404/385-0866


This project extends three different research domains: ideomotor theory, virtual environments and tangible interfaces, and seeks to augment human creativity in a fundamental manner. A central component of artistic creativity is the ability to imagine and perform new actions. The ideomotor theory in cognitive science suggests that imagination and action share a common coding in the brain. This project extends body memories using virtual environments and tangible interfaces. The premise is that augmenting creativity involves expanding the number of solutions one can generate, i.e. broadening the creative space. The project develops an environment that includes video game characters that encode our body movements through tangible user interfaces as a way to broaden the body memories of the player. The project is multidisciplinary, and has a range of possible broader impacts, scientific, technological and social. On the scientific front, the project would contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive mechanisms underlying imagination, motor learning and action perception. This has potential implications in areas such as conflict resolution, medical rehabilitation and educational technologies. A variety of applications are possible on the technology front, including template combos of movements that generate specific character impressions in viewers, and algorithms that isolate and accentuate movement features that humans perceive as biological. On the social front, once movement patterns become ?swappable?, it would be possible to share entire personalities online by sharing whole body movement patterns. This could lead to more refined understanding and empathy for others.